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Dearborn Street Station: 1910

Dearborn Street Station: 1910

Chicago circa 1910. "Dearborn Street Station." Streetcar wires and a small ghost pedestrian not entirely banished by the retoucher's hand. View full size.


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Below is the same view from June of 2017.

That Beautiful Car

Seems to be a 1911 Warren-Detroit.

Hello, Dave

Just to tell you how much I enjoy old photos like this of Dearborn Station. I am deeply appreciative of your time and talent. I especially like the scarcasm, as long as it's not directed at me.

[Scarcasm -- so hurtful. Disfiguring, even. - Dave]

He sidles up to the podium, clears his throat--

Well done, Watchwayne! I agree with you it must be a Hudson. At first I thought Overland then perhaps Mercer and even Buick because all have similar radiator shapes, but none of them have those distinctive rear springs, but I knew that I had seen them before. Congratulations!

Thar She Goes

The fateful day the roofs were lost. Sad.


What is the physical address of this place? I visit Chicago often and would like to go there in person.

[Click here. - Dave]

Adam's Ribs, anyone?

I am surprised that no one mentioned the episode of M*A*S*H in which the Dearborn Street Station featured.

Tired of having eaten a "river or liver and an ocean fish,"* Hawkeye had a hankering for BBQ from Adam's Ribs, which was "across the street" from the station.

* "I've eaten a river of liver and an ocean of fish! I've eaten so much fish, I'm ready to grow gills! I've eaten so much liver, I can only make love if I'm smothered in bacon and onions!"

We lost one of

the "Gold Dust Twins" on that sign at the right of the frame.

A clean exterior

Hard to imagine such an important public building owned by private companies not adorned with the name of the structure and who the tenants are. This was the very important East end of the Santa Fe as well as the Chicago terminal for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, Monon, Erie, Grand Trunk and others over the years.

He sidles up to the podium, clears his throat--

I'll guess it's a 1910 Hudson, based on the firewall and windshield shapes, 3/4-elliptic springs, contracting brakes, radiator shape and steering-wheel controls. I know there were oodles of other makes that probably shared some of these features, so I'm prepared and eager to be corrected!

Adam's Ribs

Where is the rib joint? Hawkeye ordered ribs from Adam's Ribs from Korea. It was across the street from the Dearborn Street Station. He forgot the coleslaw, though...

Boxes with handles?

Does anyone know what the boxes with handles located next to the curbs were for?

[They're for getting into a carriage. Called mounting blocks when they're made of stone. - Dave]

Make that one to beam up, Mr. Scott

That is just about the most hamfisted "retouching" work I have ever seen. It looks like someone from Starfleet is either transporting back to the Enterprise, or is about to materialize in Taft era Illinois.

[Our image comes directly from the negative. Once it was printed, the results were probably more convincing. - Dave]

Top lop

I'm sorry they lopped off the top of the tower. It was weird looking but interesting. It looked like there must have been little rooms up there. I wonder what was in them.

Those Roofs

Those sloped roofs got me busted cheating in architecture school. During my first year we had a sketch class and one of our assignments was to sketch this station. It was a particularly cold December morning so I bought a postcard of the station at a bookstore and sketched it from that. Unfortunately the postcard showed the station with the pre-fire sloped roofs, a distinction my professor was all too quick to point out.

Somebody step up

And identify that automobile.


Those steep roofs, especially the lamented steeple roof, look like the roofs you might see in Geneva or Bern, Switzerland. It is a shame they lopped off the steeple roof. Probably a cost or structural issue.

[It was a fire issue. See below. - Dave]

My beholding eyes

I dunno, it looks like it got blotto at a party and stuck a lampshade on its head.

Depot Hack

The Parmelee vehicle is a depot hack or omnibus, not a trolley car.

My company visits this building daily.

I've loved this place since we've been visiting on a daily basis. Great pic, as always!

The Station Got Scalped

The "cuckoo clock" roof of the tower, and all the other pitched roofs on the building, were removed after a 1922 fire. The train shed in the back was demolished in 1976. Fortunately the rest of the station is intact. I remember going there with my father in 1969, when the station was still in operation, to see the the Flying Scotsman, the famous British steam locomotive. It was making a nationwide tour that year on this side of the pond. I got to blow the whistle!

You have to be kidding!

They might have lopped the top off the building because they couldn't find a roofer to bid on retiling that wonderful but scary steep structure.

Before the operation

That's an extraordinary tower. What a shame that it's since been - I'm afraid no other word will do - circumcised.

Parmelee System

The trolley was part of the conglomerate founded by Frank Parmelee in 1853. The company held franchises in many cities. I remember taxicabs in NYC in the 1940s & 50s that bore the legend "Parmelee System." In the 1930s his company was absorbed into the Checker Cab company and was around into the 1980s. Another interesting acquisition was the Yellow Cab Co., created by John Hertz, he of car rental fame.

We'll discuss the Gold Dust Twins another time.

How many [fill in here] does it take to change?

That's one helluva a light bulb on that street pole.

[What looks like a bulb is the glass globe covering the electrodes of a carbon arc lamp. - Dave]

Dearborn Station today

Thanks for this great picture. This wonderful building is still standing and has been made into shops in the center of the Printer's Row area of Chicago. We were there this summer for the Printer's Row Book Fair.

[They lopped off the top! And painted it orange! - Dave]

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